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it was an antirepublican election. considering you had a republican on transportatiop of the ticket think lieberman would have helped. >> hillary clinton, it turns out according to to this book, forced barack obama to ask her twice to be secretary of state. she turned it down first, then he came back to her again and she said to him that there's a big problem. the problem is her husband, that it would be awkward, which ever one was saying at the time in the media, but barack obama said to her, again, according to the book, given all i have to deal with, i need your help. that reads to me like hillary clinton was forcing him to make it absolutely clear that he really wanted her on the team, that this wasn't just an offer so he could say he offered it to
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her. >> if that exchange was true, i think it was a pretty honest exchange between two former, heated contenders. when you kind of stepped back, it was hard to imagine during that democratic primary, whomever won that they would have the other in their cabinet. secretary clinton and president obama have worked incredibly well together, so both deserve enormous credit for deciding to -- for secretary clinton becoming part of the administration, for president obama asking her, even if it was twice. >> talk about negotiating your way into a cabinet, there were many reports that suggests that john edwards was trying to leverage his way in. is there any hint to that? >> there was definitely discussions, just from the conversation i heard about
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potential cabinet positions. that always happens at the end of a campaign. but in terms of where they went, i really don't know. >> thank you for your time tonight. that will have to do it for this friday edition of "countdown." our msnbc coverage continues now with the rachel maddow show. you were great on letterman last night. >> i was prepared. sort of. have a great weekend. and thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour. the republican party turns on their chairman, michael steele. turns on him like a cornered animal. what happened today in republican party politics is some of the ugliest political brawling we've seen all year long. but it was not just a tough day for the republican party chairman, john mccain, sarah palin and rudy giuliani all ended up today in the headlines
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for reasons they would all not want to be there. plus, the census addresses the hub ub that the word, negro, is being used on the census form this year. and the president of nigeria is missing. we begin tonight with the republican party apparently poised to replace its chairman after what has been an up and down year for michael steele, the republican knives this week, today in particular, have come out for him. a former republican party official telling talking points today -- a top house aide telling hotline -- while mr. steele is by no means been unanimously popular among republican, what appears to have
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set his critics hair on fire is him embarking on the book tour this week. aidi aides telling "the washington post" -- that no one knew he was coming out with a book at all. one aide telling the post, the book came out and everybody went, whoa what happened. another aide telling cq, no one had clue this was coming. the media tour was derided this week by another aide as quote, a republican apology tour at the exact wrong time. these are republicans talking about michael steele. this is not his critics. he told shawn hannity this week that republicans would likely not take back the majority in the house this year.
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that sparked a conference call between staffers and staffers at the rnc. among the quotes eagerly leaked, quote, he's got to stop and put an end to this thing. you really just have to get him to stop. quote, steele is setting us far back with his comments and it needs to stop. quote, you need to have him be quiet. one senior senate aide was quoted by saying that michael steele is a fool. another aide adding insult to insult to injury, telling hotline that mr. steele has been going on television quote, appearing unprepared and uneducated. yet another aide telling cq politics -- are we seeing a pattern here?
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a trend? the way michael steele has responded to this avalanche of criticism has been rather pugnacious. in mr. steele's case, his brand is not going over that well. those comments made by mr. steele in an interview with khrs radio in st. louis yesterday. also yesterday, mr. steele told abc radio this about his critics. >> i tell them to get a life and i'm telling them and looking them in the eye saying, if you don't want me in the job, fire me, but until then, shut up. get with the program or get out of the way. all i'm saying is, cut it out.
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you don't see the democrats running around, you know, trying to beat up their national chairman or embarrass him. >> after that interview yesterday, mr. steele was due to do another abc interview today at noon. he confirmed that appearance at 11:15, then at 11:30, canceled it saying he had an emergency rnc meeting. that gave reason that his tenure may be ending today at noon. there was no meeting for steele to go to. the same officials today abc there was a meeting, but it wasn't an emergency. weirder still, even though michael steele canceled that noon interview, between 11:00 and noon, he was on the radio, with laura ingram.
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michael steele also told david brodie of cbn today that as hard as he thinks his job is, he thinks that god gave it to him. >> god, i really believe, has placed me here for a reason, because who else and why else would you do this unless there's something inside of you that says, right now, you need to be here to do this and there's going to be a lot of ugly that comes after you. >> michael steele is having a lot of ugly come after him right now. most of it anonymous. i don't recall a party chairman having this many out of the woodwork anonymous attacks thrown at him at once and that person surviving in their job.
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the attacks also including an article saying major donors saying they would not give to the rnc while he was chairman. it also follows public grumbling to keep taking paid speaking gigs. and there's been vocal discontent that the republican party has spent a ton of money and raised little since he has been chairman. how long can he survive this? can he keep his chairmanship and chalk this up to a bad book tour? if he gets fired, who's next in line? all good questions. the best may be, what does it say about the republican party right now, that this anonymous multifront assault is how they're handling trying to get rid of michael steele. joining us now is john stanton, a reporter with "role call" magazine. i want to talk specifically about what michael steele is going through right now, but in
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general, how disruptive, how big a deal would it be for the republican party to oust its chairman in an election year? >> it would be a huge deal, i think, for them. the fact is that there has been this big division within the party between the conservative wing and the moderates. if they were forced to oust him, it would put that out in the public. it would distract from their efforts to put themselves out there as this unified, conservative, fiscal party and they would have to deal with that for months. it could hurt. fund raising, it could cause a civil war between moderates. >> how much of what's going on between michael steele and his detractors inside the republican party is personal about him and how much of it is a proxy for the bigger civil war.
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>> i think most of it has to do with himself and not so much the idea logical differences. he's attacked moderates in the party, but he's also played to the moderates when he got in a fight with rush limbaugh and sarah palin last year. republicans see him as a distraction. they were upset with his comments this week because it came the day chris dodd and byron dorgan were retiring. by the end of that day instead of being about democrats and retirements, it was about michael steele saying that. >> is michael steele's own perceived ambition and stated ambition in some cases, a part of the problem? one of the criticisms thrown at him this week, that he wants to run for president.
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he told laura ingram today he wants to be governor of maryland. is that interfering with the party's ambition. >> i think the way he's doing it is being interpreted as him being out for himself. for example, this book tour. the sale of the books is going to mr. steele, not the rnc. and this comes at the time when they're having financial difts. so, they see this as -- some see it as being all about him as opposed to about the party. >> how widespread is the uprising against him? i know newt gingrich is an ally. does he have other important
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alle alley? >> there are others on the rnc that support him. he's in a difficult spot because some of these big name donors are going to back out. it takes 2/3 of the entire rnc to vote him out, which would happen this winter if it were to occur in hawaii. >> if he has ousted, is there an obvious next choice? >> not necessarily. the gop chairman from south carolina was sort of his biggest challenger last year. i know that most of the folks that have done it before, that have talked with him, have said it's clear they don't want anything to do with it and that could be the epicenter. if he were to leave, that could become a difficult fight for them, in terms of having conservatives or tea party elements.
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>> john stanton, thanks very much for your insight into this. also, i'm very proud that for the first time ever, we had a little dancing michael steele as the dancing bug. we'll bring him back when we think we might get him on the show. in the midst of the michael steele conflict, fighting for his political life within the republican party, push turns out the mccain-palin campaign is starting to heat up. it was a multiplatform mccain-palin kersplat today and rudy giuliani goes on tv to tell his version of terrorism during the bush years. in the process, he probably ends any hope of a future giuliani national political career. we'll be right back. is he in? he's in copenhagen.
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rudy giuliani. think about it. there's only three things mentioned in his sentence, a noun, verb and 9/11. nothing else. there's nothing else. >> what is the world coming to when even the mayor of 9/11 forgets 9/11? >> what he should be doing is following the right things bush
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did. one was treat this as a war on terror. we had no domestic attacks on the bush -- >> no attacks under -- one of the most surprising things about this week in terrorism was that this week may have spelled the end of a political career for giuliani, of all people. mr. giuliani, not only forgetting about 9/11, later having to issue a statement that he meant after 9/11, but also after having a strange kol qui with larry king. >> this is something you react to immediately. not ten days later after your vacation. >> larry: president bush took six days though once. >> well, first of all -- >> larry: similar incident. >> six days is less than ten. i believe that six days was
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before the september 11 attack. >> no, the whole reason anybody ever thought of rudy giuliani as a potential national figure for the republican party is because of his suppose ed expertise about terrorism and national security because he had been the mayor of new york city when it was attacked on september the 11th. >> i'm not talking about september 11 -- not september 11 -- nothing to do with september 11th. >> rudy giuliani's whole brand as a politician has been based on b 9/11 -- a factual matter. let's give mayor giuliani the benefit of the doubt here. i mean, he is after all, the head of giuliani partners which sells its expertise on the issue. what could he possibly have meant by this statement.
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>> we had no domestic attacks under bush. >> did he mean no attempted attac attacks? no, he couldn't have meant that because of the richard reid attack. could he have meant there were no other attacks considered by the bush administration to have been terrorist attacks? he couldn't have meant that either because the 2001 anthrax attacks were later described as a quote, terrorist act. maybe he thought the victims were dispersed over too large an area to count, but then there was a d.c. sniper case. people gunned down by a pair of
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snipers. maybe he meant there were no attacks linked to al-qaeda or inspired by 9/11? he couldn't have meant that either because there was the student -- who plowed his car through a group of college students in 2006. there is no possible way he was making since unless he was trying to get away with political fancy and spin. >> we did not have a terrorist attack on our country. >> i was there, we inherited a recession from president clinton and the most tragic attack on our soil in our nation's history. >> who you did you inherit that from? i hate to fall into the old trap of saying, when things happen in threes, it's a trend, but i wonder if the next spin is going
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to be 9/11 didn't happen while george bush was president. some history may be recent -- the clambering to try to get more political traction out of terrorism depends on us forgetting history. the only way he makes political hay here is if we give up on the facts and decide to believe his whacky version of history instead. >> we are going to have military corps and civilian corps and are going to be having trials here in the united states. >> he wants us to believe that it's his position that anybody who attacks us here in the united states shouldn't be tried in a civilian court. so says the guy that after the first world trade center bombing
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in 1993, applauded the conviction of four of the planners. quote -- nearly an hour years later, the master mind of that attack was sentenced. straight from "the new york times" that day -- okay, if you want to give him further benefit of the doubt, those trials were pre-9/11. maybe after that, he decided that any terrorist wo attacks here ought to be tried in civilian courts. has nothing to do with him
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trying to make political hay out of this. then what accounts to his response to the federal court conviction of the coconspirator in 2006. >> it shows we have a legal system that we follow it, we respect it and it's what's missing in a lot of the parts of the world breeding terrorism. it says something remarkable at us. >> the once promising political career of the new york city mayor who has national aspirations because of his supposed credibility on the issue of terrorism is probably over know. that is the whole basis of his -- the national brand. the reason he's considered a political aspirant. that's what has made him more than just an ex-big city mayor with a consulting firm.
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that is glenn beck there. the fox news channel host and
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the talk radio host putting his own we are the world spin on question number nine from this year's united states census form. question nine asks what is person one's race. your possible answers include -- and before you ask, no, i do not know if mr. beck is more comfortable saying the word negro than the word african-american. doesn't seem like the census bureau is all that comfortable with its use of the word negro, but they have an explanation for what it's doing there. the office told us today that in the last census in the year 2000, over 56,000 americans wrote in the world negro specifically, even though that word was printed there alongside african-american and black on the check box just like it is on
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this year's form. that said, the census also told us today they are exploring the prospect of dropping this word for 2020. they'll send about 30,000 homes forms that don't have the term listed as the prewritten option. see what happens. joining us now from the great city of new orleans, associate professor of african-american studies at princeton. thanks for joining us. on twitter today, you unscientifically polled people on what the word, negro, made them think of. what kind of responses did you get? >> i'm a public opinion researcher and this is the least scientific poll i've ever done, but i was interested because this advocacy position that negro is a der rogatory term.
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some people had cultural references saying things like negro spirituals or negro league baseball. some people, saying that negro was the common term in usage during the civil rights movement. so there's a way in which most of the important 20th century efforts towards civil rights happened because negroes did it. because african-american, afro-american and black were after the movement. there were also people who said negro made them think about segregation, antiquated terms and derogatory ways of talk about black people. >> david wilson was on the show this week and he said he thinks it's possible the word will be offensive and strange enough to a lot of younger african-americans that it might
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actually hurt their participation in the census. there's no real way to measure that, but do you think that's possible? >> there are good ways to measure it. census folks aren't perfect at everything, but they are mighty good at pretesting. in other words, if you take it off the form, you end up with a different kind of response rate or different sorts of people responding than when you leave it on the form. in certain ways, it's an imperical question. i think there are real issues about the census, about under counting, under representation of african-americans that we should be concerned about. for me, negro doesn't make the top ten. i almost felt like saying, negro, please. >> i do think this is sort of
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more interesting that controversial. there have been people on the right who have tried to make it controversial, some big brother intrusion, but the census is really important. getting undercounted affects your political representation. is there not a risk to being scared or offended by the census? >> maybe, but if we think about the biggest issues around the census, the first thing i would say is because i'm a professor, i have a e reading list for everybody. the first might be a book about the history of the census in brazil, an interesting case about how we develop the concept of blackness. but i think what we really need to be asking is at this particular historic moment, what happens when we count, for example, incarcerated persons,
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who are disportion people of color. when we count them in the counties where they're incarcerated rather than their home communities. for example, in illinois, you end up with young people being counted in predominantly white downstate counties and not in the neighborhoods from which they come. that affected political representation, federal dollars. there will millions of dollars at stake and we want to be encouraging african-americans, blacks and negroes to be filling out the survey, not to be sort of raising a specter of anxiety. still, it is important and worth asking sort of what does it mean when a community of people want to name themselves and what happens if these sort of historic names, these names that still may carry a great deal of negative baggage, if they push
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off people we're trying to get more fairness for. >> the perfect person to talk to about this. i knew you'd have the academic rigor down. so the mccain-palin 2008 campaign manager is offloading some truth of sarah palin. remember the staffer she attacked for his weight and said he swore too much? well, that campaign staffer has some memories to share for us. stand back. seafood dinner for to is just $29.99 at red lobster. you both get a fresh salad and irresistible cheddar bay biscuits... two entrees from a menu of classic favorites and new creations. and your choice of either an appetizer or a dessert to share. your favorite seafood with your favorite person.
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barack obama and senator o biden -- >> senator o biden. remember that moment from the vice presidential debate? at the time, it just seemed hike a strange sort of mini gaffe for sarah palin. we now know the back story that led to it. apparently, the senator o biden problem for sarah palin was way worse than anyone knew until now.
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john mccain's campaign manager spills the means on what it was like to work with sarah palin during the campaign. that is ahead. last night on david letterman when i called the christmas day bomber the fruit of the boom guy, i should have credited that to our friends at they came up with that first. in any case, since the attack on christmas day, americans have been paying more attention to nigeria. you know what they're worried about? that they're president might be secretly dead. according to reports, he has not been seen anywhere for six weeks. rumor has it he's in a hospital in saudi arabia, but back home, people are freaking out. three lawsuits have been filed
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seeking to delair him unfit for service. the house of representatives in nigeria is taking up the issue next week. there are demands on the saudi king to issue a report on the president's health. amid worries about the country's stability and the threat of a coup, the one silver lining is that the vice president is good luck jonathan. that's his name. his first name is good luck. his last name is jonathan. so the bottom line here, if the president of nigeria is secretly dead, then good luck jonathan, then president good luck jonathan, i guess. 1200 mg of cam fancy feast appetizers. [dinner bell chimes]
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common wisdom about the tea party movement -- purging the moderates from their ranks. out, out i say. turns out the tea party push a about really conservative conservatives trying to take down the people who are really
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conservative conservatives. moderates don't factor in. case in point, jim greer, when he left office as the florida gop chairman, he went after his tea party republican enemies saying quote -- how dangerously moderate is this guy jim greer? having termed president obama's message to school children last year, he defended himself as follows on hardball -- >> when i saw and heard about this speech and saw the lesson plans that the white house was preparing that talked about you know, what can you say good
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about president obama's nichetinich initiatives, that concerned me as a parent. >> that guy. the guy that's too easy going and moderate for the tea partiers to be the chairman. right wing side also set on utah republican senator bob bennett. today, the club for growth announced it would oppose bob bennett for re-election. they just want him gone, too. perhaps it's because of bob bennett's horribly moderate agenda, like claiming the number one assignment of 2009 was to kill obama care. complaining that president obama has had too many czars in his administration and arguing against creating a consumer financial protection agency because of how much he hates the environmental protection agency. i might as well be chairman mow, right? it e extends even to c-pack.
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this year, sarah palin turned down an invitation to speak and is instead going to give the keynote at a tea party convention. the regular conservative one that's so extreme isn't apparently conservative enough. joining us now is "new york times" reporter mark leibovitz. thanks for coming on the show. nice to have you here. >> good to be here. >> in your article, you described the just ousted republican party chairman as sounding like a harassed substitute teacher getting pelted with spit balls from every direction. are jim greer and charlie crist being attacked for their
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policies or is it more complicated than that? >> it's more than that. i would say this. people are, i think, right now, making the mistake of talk about the quote, tea party movement, as a single group of this movement. the fact is, no one really knows what they're dealing with. right now, some of the organizations are political action committees are pretty well organized. some are rag tag local operations. if fact is, you can go to two different tea parties in various parts of florida, which i happen to be focussing on, and find different characteristics. jim greer, his remarks this week were just remarkable. something that was sort of in the sub text to everything he was saying, but jim greer is a
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very, very conservative guy. charlie crist has been known as a moderate over the years, but the working to portray himself as the true conservative in the race. i don't know if this signifies great energy on the right that everyone should be paying attention to or if it signifies a shrinking of the right. >> one of the things you describe is sort of a stylistic challenge more than a policy-based challenge. even though charlie crist is conceived of as a moderate, he sort of supports -- to the party right now. is part of the energy behind the challenge to crist, because he seems like a more combattive figure? >> to a degree, yes. charlie crist has more baggage.
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he has been around florida for many, many years. been in many different jobs. mark is a very fiery personality. someone who gets crowds very excited, but i was actually struck, i mean, i've heard about him a as real fire brand and someone who has developed a real following, not just in florida, but around the country. but he's actually pretty conciliatory. he didn't attack president obama to the degree to which i thought he would. and he actually, if you listen closely to his words, is not that uncomfortable. i wouldn't say as a compromiser, but someone who is, who actually will admit there are some gray areas in politics. so, i think his appeal goes a lot deeper than that. >> are you seeing any signs of a counterrevolution?
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anybody that you met in your reporting in florida for this story think is going to be it's majority, but there's certainly a group of people within the, quote unquote, republican establishment that charlie crist that i think is banking on for him to be there nine, ten months from now. frankly, now the moderate wing of the republican party in florida and across the country is a very, very small group. you know, if they existed at all, they're pretty quiet at this point. so we'll see. >> thanks very much for joining us. enjoyed your reporting for this piece. nice to have you on the show. >> thanks, rachel. >> so will the tea partying fringe movement within the republican party that appears to be taking it over, will they win out if michael steele gets ousted? that issue is coming up on "countdown." as john mccain desperately tries to win an election in arizona, his former running mate finds out exactly what happens when you tread on schmidt, as in steve schmidt.
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operation destroy sarah palin's political career and reputation is not just a left-wing project. no secretive george soros funding, this effort is fro, for republicans only. steve schmidt was the campaign manager for mccain-palin '08. i take it that will be the last palin ticket he will be associated. an interview set to air this weekend, mr. schmidt that then candidate sarah palin had with the truth. >> there were numerous instances that she said things that were not accurate, that ultimately the campaign had to deal with. and that opened the door to criticism that she was being
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untruthful, and inaccurate. and i think that that is something that continues to this day. she went out and said that, you know, this report completely exonerates me, and in fact it didn't. it's the equivalent of saying down is up and up is down. it was provably, demonstrably untrue. >> okay, fine. miss palin wanted to cut corners. happens in politics all the time. it wasn't like she wanted to flatout lie, is it? >> stuff like the alaska independence party that her husband had pn a member of for seven years. she wanted to put out a statement saying that he was not a member of it. he was a member of it. >> oh. well now in addition to illuminating sarah palin's reality-based problems, mr. schmidt also hits the alaskan's debate with joe biden. the process he said was so
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disheartening, another member of the mccain-palin campaign staff warned that the debate might produce a political apocalypse. >> he told us that the debate was going to be a debacle of historic and epic proportions. he told us she was not focused. she was not engaged. she was really not participating in the prep. rick davis and i sat in the back of the room for a few minutes, suggested everybody take a break. asked everybody to leave the room. and we had a conversation with her. >> what did you say to her? >> i said, governor, this doesn't seem to be going very well to me. and she assented, she agreed. she said, i think that's right. >> in fact, that assessment was so right that the mccain team convinced sarah palin to make a slight change in terminology in order to avoid making the same verbal gaffe over and over again. as palin wrote in her book, that she conflated the names biden
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and obama calling her stand-in opponent o'biden. the suggestion was just to call joe biden joe. >> can i call you joe? >> you know what they say about the best-laid plans, though. >> barack obama and senator o'biden, you said no to everything in finding a domestic solution to the energy crisis we were in. >> given the number of enemies that sarah palin made among those who worked closest with her on the campaign trail, expect the drip, drip, drip of unflattering sarah palin anecdotes to continue until the only office to which she can be elected is the palins against schmidt pac. the former governor of alaska is struggling for credibility. and mccain is seeking local credibility. thanks for joining us. >> you know, even though john mccain is listed as the most influential person in his party, he's got a tough

The Rachel Maddow Show
MSNBC January 8, 2010 9:00pm-10:00pm EST

News/Business. Politics, pop culture and today's top stories. New.

TOPIC FREQUENCY Michael Steele 16, Us 13, Sarah Palin 13, Plavix 8, Mr. Steele 7, Florida 6, Jim Bob 5, Rudy Giuliani 5, Charlie Crist 5, Jim Greer 5, Nigeria 4, John Mccain 4, Jonathan 4, Clinton 4, Obama 4, Bob Bennett 3, Copenhagen 3, Palin 3, Alaska 2, Abc 2
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